Bexley News

Schools Notebook

Students form lasting connections with clinic

By TOBY MARS
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At Bexley Middle School, it's hard not to be inspired. With all of the learning projects and amazing teachers, you can't help but want to do more to get involved -- especially when you have a great project such as our seventh-grade South Sudan Global Service Learning project that is focused on raising money for the Buckeye Clinic in Piol, South Sudan.

The Buckeye Clinic helps provide good prenatal care for pregnant women and vaccinations for all villagers. Last year, when I was in seventh grade, I was privileged to be a part of this project. Throughout the experience, our social studies classes read books and watched movies relating to South Sudan. We learned about how South Sudan became the newest country in the world in 2011.

We also raised money through different activities, such as selling snow cones, a grade-wide auction and a 3K that we walked/ran with an actual Lost Boy of Sudan, Bol Aweng, who fled his country during the Sudanese civil war.

Over the course of two years, we raised nearly $10,000.

I decided this was so important to me that I was going to continue to raise money toward this cause for my bat mitzvah project. I raised an additional $2,500 and am still counting. Because of my involvement, I was one of three eighth-graders chosen by our seventh-grade humanities teachers, Mindy Hall and Beth Jax, to go to the Ohio Student Achievement Fair at the Greater Columbus Convention Center and present our service project. All three of us received Key Maker Awards from our school district for our involvement.

Recently, South Sudan has experienced another crisis; some media have called it a new civil war. Tens of thousands of South Sudanese people have been killed or forced to leave the country, becoming refugees for a second time. Thankfully, a cease fire was signed just a few weeks ago.

Even so, we learned that, as of Feb. 10, the people of Piol are unable to live peacefully in their village and are hiding in a swampy area somewhere along the White Nile. We understand that they are in desperate need of food and medicine.

This year's seventh-grade South Sudan project begins soon. Money will be raised not only for the Buckeye Clinic, but also for general humanitarian aid such as food and medicine. To donate to our cause, checks should be made payable to BMS South Sudan Clinic. They may be dropped off at the Bexley Middle School office or mailed to Beth Jax, Bexley Middle School, 300 S. Cassingham Road, Bexley 43209.

I pray that South Sudan remains at peace and that its citizens are safe and healthy, especially now that I have made a personal connection to this country. I'm so proud there is a medical clinic there that has our name on it.

Toby Mars is an eighth-grade student at Bexley Middle School.

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